Tripler celebrates cancer survivors

| June 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Joshua Thompson (left), Abigail Steinke (right) and Cindy Kaneshiro (center) Tripler registered nurses, and Jacquelyn Mitchell, Tripler advanced oncology clinical nurse specialist, workin the radiation room at Tripler’s Oncology Clinic.

Leanne Thomas

Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs
HONOLULU — The Tripler Army Medical Center’s Oncology Clinic has a vibrant cancer survivor population, and its staff members are committed to improving the lives of cancer patients.

For National Cancer Survivors Day, observed on June 4, TAMC celebrates cancer survivors and the progress medical researchers have made to improve cancer survival rates over the years. National Cancer Survivors Day is a time to celebrate life and raise awareness of the challenges faced by cancer survivors.

According to the literature review, “Expressive Art Therapy in Oncology Patients’ Journey,” cancer patients experience various psychosocial challenges due to their illness. Additionally, when a patient’s internal feelings are inexpressible with words, their stress and anxiety increases.

In 2007, Tripler’s Oncology Clinic hosted its first annual “Oncology on Canvas” event to offer everyone affected by cancer an opportunity to share their cancer journey through art and personal narratives. This year Tripler hosted the 11th annual “Oncology on Canvas” event for over 300 patients and family members. The art exhibit is currently displayed at Tripler’s medical library through June 16.

Tripler’s Oncology Clinic also participates in clinical trials with local and national cancer research groups, such as the Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii, Tripler’s partner school.

“Tripler has participated in a number of clinical trials throughout the years,” said Dr. Jeffrey Berenberg, a hematologist-oncologist at Tripler. “One trial we are currently working on with a national group, that is particularly relevant to our active duty population, is called the EROS trial (Engendering Reproductive Health within Oncologic Survivorship). This trial looks at the impact of cancer therapy on fertility and the sexual function of premenopausal women who are diagnosed with cancer.

“When many women are treated, they become infertile,” Berenberg added, “and we are looking to see what their fertility concerns are and how it affects their quality of life. This trial is specifically helping to contribute to the knowledge base (of cancer research).”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall cancer death rates continue to decline, resulting in more cancer survivors than ever before.

A local resource for breast cancer survivors is the Breast Cancer Support Group facilitated a by registered nurse, breast health educator and breast cancer navigator for the Naval Health Clinic-Hawaii, Mary P. Johnson.

“I created the group because there is no greater way to offer support to the survivors than to bring them together to help each other,” said Johnson. “The group is open to all military active duty members, dependents and retirees who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.

“Unlike other support groups, ours is about helping the unique military members, dependents and retirees through the cancer journey,” she added. “Military members have the added stress of deployments, duty schedules, moves, children’s reactions, separation and concern for their jobs to name a few.

“The military culture is different, and the survivors understand what each other are going through. They not only have a breast cancer diagnosis but they have the life of a military member, spouse, etc.,” she explained.

Point of Contact
For more information on cancer survivorship, contact your primary care manager a 433-2778. For more details regarding Naval Health Clinic Hawaii’s breast cancer support group, call 473-1880.


Safety during vacation
Summer brings a lot of fun and a lot of health and safety challenges.

Take a few minutes to be safe and healthy.

  • Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on the water.
  • Put on sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Put on insect repellent.
  • Wash your hands often.

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